Japan narrowly beat New Zealand in friendly

Japan’s goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, center, celebrates with teammates after victory over New Zealand during their friendly football match in Toyota city, Aichi prefecture on October 6, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 06 October 2017
0

Japan narrowly beat New Zealand in friendly

TOKYO: Shu Kurata smashed a late winner on Friday to give Japan a narrow 2-1 victory over New Zealand in their first international football friendly since they qualified for the World Cup.
Following a scoreless first half, Cologne forward Yuya Osako netted a 50-minute penalty for Japan after a handball at Toyota Stadium.
New Zealand striker Chris Wood scored an equalizer nine minutes later, triggering an all-out offensive by Japan.
On 87 minutes, Kurata scored his first goal for the Blue Samurai with a diving header, whipping up home fans in the heavy rain.
“I pushed the ball with all my heart,” Kurata said.
“I’m glad to contribute to the team with the winning goal,” he said.
It was Japan’s first friendly since they beat Australia 2-0 in August to qualify for their sixth successive World Cup.
“We won but it was not easy,” Japan’s head coach Vahid Halilhodzic said after the game.
“New Zealand displayed a brilliant defense,” said the Franco-Bosnian.
“We scored the first goal but could not control the game well and then they scored a goal,” he said.
But he praised his players for their collective offense toward the end of the game, which led to Kurata’s winner.
The defeat shadowed New Zealand, who will move to an intercontinental playoff next month.
Japan will take on Haiti in another friendly on Tuesday in Kanagawa, southwest of Tokyo.


West Brom fightback takes shine off more Mohamed Salah success

Updated 21 April 2018
0

West Brom fightback takes shine off more Mohamed Salah success

  • Salah strikes again to move within sight of the Premier League goalscoring record .
  • But West Brom fight back from two goals down to grab a point.

West Bromwich Albion kept their slim hopes of Premier League survival alive with a stunning late comeback to draw 2-2 with Liverpool and take the shine off Mohamed Salah’s latest goal-scoring landmark.
The Egypt international matched the record of 31 goals for a 38-game top-flight season set by Alan Shearer (1995-96), Cristiano Ronaldo (2007-08) and Luis Suarez (2013-14) with three matches still to spare with a clever chipped finish.
Andy Cole’s record of 34 goals in a 42-game season looks well within the grasp of Salah, who took the limelight away from Danny Ings’ first goal since October 2015.
The final word, though, belonged to West Brom as they came from behind with goals from Jake Livermore and then Salomon Rondon in the 88th minute.
It was just reward for the hosts, with caretaker-manager Darren Moore extending his unbeaten run to three matches, including games against two of the top four.
However, it was harsh on Ings who looked set to enjoy a day to remember after a difficult period since moving to Anfield from Burnley, with two serious knee injuries restricting him to just 11 appearances for the club in his first two seasons.
Ings seized his chance replacing the rested Roberto Firmino with a fourth-minute strike, his first in 930 days since scoring the last goal of Brendan Rodgers’ reign.
No one could begrudge him his moment in the Black Country sunshine after he tore a cruciate knee ligament in Klopp’s first training session at the club, just days after winning his solitary England cap against Lithuania, and suffered another injury to his other knee just over a year later.
With one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal first leg at home to Roma Klopp made five changes, including three of the back four, and that gave Ings a chance.
Sadio Mane worked his way to the byline and drilled in a cross which Georginio Wijnaldum controlled before allowing his teammate to blast home.
It was only the third of Liverpool’s past 27 league goals not to be scored by Mane, Firmino or Salah.
Ings was denied a second by goalkeeper Ben Foster’s outstretched foot late in the half but West Brom dominated the latter stages of the half. A rare miscontrol by James Milner allowed Livermore to whip over a far-post cross which James McClean drilled back across goal, but Jay Rodriguez’s lunge was inches away from converting a certain equalizer.
Ings had a penalty shout turned down after the break when Craig Dawson stepped across him to prevent him reaching Joe Gomez’s pass.
Salah, quiet since an 11th-minute shot was deflected over by Livermore, came in from the periphery when substitutes Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain combined to tee him up to coolly beat Foster in the 72nd minute.
Livermore, though, gave the hosts hope with a scrambled finish from a corner and Rondon headed home Brunt’s near-post free kick with two minutes to go.